If you’ve been trusting the process for a few years in Philadelphia, you’re finally going to get a return on investment next season – health pending, of course – if the 76ers make just two easy moves this offseason:
- Sign Kyle Lowry. He’s going to opt out of his deal in Toronto. The Raptors aren’t on Cleveland’s level – as evidenced by the sweep at the hands of LeBron – and have a lot of questions this offseason. There’s a very good chance (89%?) that Lowry isn’t back in Toronto. He went to college in Philadelphia. The 76ers need a point guard – even if Ben Simmons wants to play point guard, it’s not realistic to think he can step in to being The Point Guard of an NBA team as a rookie. The idea of pursuing Lowry (career-high 41 percent on 3-pointers last year) also alleviates the need for Philadelphia to reach for a one-dimensional shooting guard with the 3rd pick in the draft a week before free agency begins.His backcourt mate? There’s no DeMar DeRozan. But let’s not write off 23-year old Justin Anderson yet. I know 76ers fans didn’t love the Nerlens Noel trade, but I’m in the minority that Anderson’s 3-and-D game in the new NBA will have more value than Noel’s shot-blocking over the next five years. (Plus, there’s Noel’s injury history and his wiry frame).
2. Draft Jayson Tatum. This is not a knock on Josh Jackson. He’s a potentially great player. I love how he fits as a SF in the NBA. But Tatum has to be the pick here because he can play the 3/4, and he’s more advanced around the basket than Jackson. And that’s an important fact because we don’t know if Joel Embiid will ever be able to stay healthy. Ben Simmons may have grown to 7-feet tall, but like a young LeBron, Simmons is more of a passer on the block than a scorer. A point-forward if you will. Perhaps that changes down the road, but if Embiid goes down, at least you’ve got Tatum to shoulder some of the scoring load inside. (We’re all assuming next season will be Jahlil Okafor’s last in Philly, right?)
PS – For what it’s worth, Tatum shot 40-of-117 on three-pointers last year; Jackson was 34-of-90.
Potential 76ers depth chart to start next season:
C – Joel Embiid/Jahlil Okafor/Richaun Holmes
PF- Dario Saric/Jayson Tatum/Shawn Long
SF – Ben Simmons/Robert Covington
SG – Justin Anderson/Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot/Nik Stauskas/Gerald Henderson
PG – Kyle Lowry/TJ McConnell/Jerryd Bayless